Health Requirements for Admission
Durham University Phase I Medicine programme, leading to the Newcastle University MBBS degree, has an overriding duty of care to the public with whom students come into close contact from the first term of their studies and follows Department of Health guidance on health clearance for medical students. Detailed immunisation requirements will be sent to every applicant following their acceptance of an offer however applicants are also encouraged to monitor this website for any changes in requirements.
All successful applicants must produce evidence required for standard health clearance: this includes evidence of immunisation against (or immunity to) diphtheria, polio, measles, mumps, rubella and varicella, as well as non-infectivity to tuberculosis. Further information about requirements is included in the Appendix at the bottom of this page.
As a future medical student, you are also advised for your own protection to commence a schedule of Hepatitis B immunisation long before coming to University. The immunisation schedule that we recommend is a basic course of three doses of vaccine at 0, 1 month and 2 months. Antibody titres should be checked 1-4 months after completion of the course.
It is very strongly recommended that these vaccinations begin long before you leave home for university as the course of Hepatitis B immunisation is lengthy, consists of several appointments and is required for a small number of optional placements in Year 1.
The Medical School follows the Department of Health regulations on this subject and requires that all medical students provide proof that they have completed a full course of immunisation against hepatitis B and have developed a protective antibody response or, in the case of those who fail to respond to the vaccine, that they are not infectious carriers of the virus.
Occupational Health will accept as documentary proof an individual validated sample (IVS) certified UK laboratory report showing a satisfactory hepatitis B surface antibody level (titre >100 miU/ml). Students with a low hepatitis B surface antibody level at the end of their primary course (titre 10-99 miU/ml) will be advised to have a further dose of vaccination. Students who fail to respond (titre <10 miU/ml) will be required to demonstrate they are not infectious carriers of the virus (HepBSAg and antiHBc negative) before repeating the entire primary course from the beginning.
The Medical School does have to ensure that you are capable, with support if needed, of acquiring the core clinical skills and competencies to qualify, practise as a doctor and work safely with patients. The requirements are defined in the GMC publication, Outcomes for Graduates (Tomorrow's Doctors). Consequently, after accepting an offer all applicants will be contacted by the Occupational Health Service who will undertake confidential health screening prior to registration. Occupational Health will ask about all impairments and/or health conditions which could affect applicants in training so that they can best advise the Medical School and, where appropriate, may propose potential adjustments for consideration.
Additional health clearance for non-infectivity to hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV will be required before any student is permitted to train or participate in any exposure-prone procedures. Durham University Phase I Medicine Programme, leading to the Newcastle University MBBS Degree, follows the Medical Schools Council protocol on such blood borne viruses. During the course students will be requested to be tested for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV; all aspects of a student's Occupational Health record will be bound by the same duty of confidentiality as for any doctor-patient interaction and informed by the same ethical guidance. The status of any individual in respect of blood borne viruses will not be a factor in the admissions selection process and will not prevent them completing medical education.
The Medical School reserves the right to re-test any or all of its medical students for any or all markers of blood-borne viruses at any time during their course and to alter its regulations at any time in the light of future changes to Department of Health, Council of Heads of Undergraduate Medical School or Occupational Health guidance.
The Department of Health has directed that all health care workers, including medical students, must be screened and where possible immunised before contact with patients. This is important to protect students from being infected by patients, and to protect vulnerable patients from contracting infections from healthcare workers. As you may know, modern medical curricula have a considerable amount of early patient contact even in the first few weeks of the programme, so it is essentialthat all prospective medical students provide evidence of satisfactory immunisation/non-infectivity against the following:
- Tuberculosis (TB)
During registration you will either have a BCG scar check (if you have already had a BCG), a Mantoux test (if you have not had a BCG) or have a gamma interferon blood test arranged if you are entering the UK from an area of high TB prevalence.
- Diphtheria and Polio
You are expected to be up to date with these immunisations at registration.
- Measles, Mumps and Rubella
Evidence of 2 MMR vaccinations (or serology results indicating immunity to both Measles and Rubella) is required by all students at registration. If you have not had two MMR vaccinations, please arrange this with your GP surgery or health provider straight away.
- Varicella (Chicken Pox)
You will be asked whether there is a definite history that you have had varicella (chicken pox or shingles) infection. If there is no such record (or if you are from a tropical climate where chicken pox is less prevalent) then you will be required to submit a blood test result to demonstrate your immunity. Please arrange this straight away if you are unsure as the process of vaccination can be lengthy if you are not immune.
- Hepatitis B
The immunisation schedule we recommend is a basic course of three doses of vaccine at 0, 1 month and 2 months. Antibody titres should be checked 1-4 months after completion of the course. It is recommended that the vaccinations begin long before you leave home for university as the process is lengthy, requires repeat appointments and is a pre-requisite for a small number of optional Community Placements in Year 1.
Please note that provision of health, immunisation and DBS data requested is an essential course requirement. Timely submission of data requested will contribute positively to your “Conscientiousness Index” which monitors your professionalism during Phase I. However if there are medical reasons why you cannot receive immunisations, or if you do not respond to immunisation, then advice will be sought from the Occupational Health service on your behalf. Otherwise, failure to comply with these requirements may result in you being excluded from early clinical contact and other important teaching sessions involving the public.
Failure to comply with essential health, immunisation and/or DBS course requirements by the beginning of Epiphany term will make it impossible for you to complete the required learning outcomes for Stage 1 and you may regretfully be withdrawn from the programme.